The Telly Awards Podcast

Episode 7: Programming – Tribeca Film Festival vs Alamo Drafthouse


On one side of the figurative film industry door sit the creatives with passion projects and ground-breaking work looking to get their films in front of the right people. On the other, are the programmers working tirelessly to balance their curations with content that audiences, distributors, festivals, and any other major consumer want to see.

Although programming content and curating content for audiences is a universal task among brands, companies, festivals, and any content driven organization, the life of a programmer can vary between companies. While most know programmers in the context of film festivals, there are a multitude of areas where programmers exist and are even vital to the survival of the organizations they exist within.

In this month’s episode of The Telly Awards Podcast, we explored the differences between two very unique areas of programming – between a film festival and a cinema. While film festivals focus on curating work that highlights a specific theme, cinemas aim to curate content that aligns with their brand and audience. Both have a goal of expanding and reaching greater audiences with their work. How do programmers go about accomplishing these goals? How do they balance their personal preferences with the needs of their organization? And is watching films all day a requirement of the job?

We invited Faridah Gbadamosi, film curator and senior programmer at Tribeca Enterprises, and Jake Isgar, Film Programmer from Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas, to examine the distinction between these two worlds, discuss the art of retaining and growing audiences while also representing a brand’s ideas and the importance of diversity and inclusion in programming.

Listen to Episode 7 of The Telly Awards podcast below:


Faridah Gbadamosi is a Senior Programmer at Tribeca Enterprises. She’s a film curator and culture critic working towards making the space more inclusive. In particular, her interests are in changing the space of tastemakers and rethinking the models for curation and exhibition. She has worked in various roles at different film festivals and other film organizations, including the California Film Institute, Athena Film Festival, SIFF, and many more. She recently worked as the Artistic Director of Outfest during its 40th anniversary. In addition to her programming roles, she has also worked as the Director of Distribution at Open Your Eyes and Think MF, the distribution wing of David Magdael & Associates, a consultant on different film projects, and a freelance culture critic. 

Jake Isgar is a film programmer for Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas, focusing on repertory, specialty, and independent releases. He also sets the strategy and creative for circuit-wide genre programming, with flagship series Terror Tuesday and Weird Wednesday in Brooklyn and San Francisco, as well as the year-round Fantastic Fest Presents series that stems from the annual festival in Austin, TX. If he’s not raving about the films of Tsui Hark or Elaine May, he’s likely being terrorized by his two cats.

The Telly Awards Podcast – the podcast that brings together two leaders from the video and television community, with similar expertise in different disciplines to share their craft, debate their differences, and find common ground in their forms of storytelling. Hosted by Executive Director of The Telly Awards, Sabrina Dridje, the series explores: What is different? What is common ground? What can we as an audience – and the speakers – discover from this analysis? These are some of the questions we aim to find answers to monthly, on The Telly Awards Podcast. Now available on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Amazon Music and ACast. 
Do you have someone you think should be featured? Do you have an industry area you’d like us to compare and contrast? Get in touch with our Senior Producer, Dina Graham at for the chance to be featured!